First-Year Liberal Arts Seminar

A liberal arts and sciences education means you’ll study a lot of different areas in addition to your major. You’ll learn both theory and practice. You’ll enhance critical reading and thinking skills. You’ll develop creative leadership skills needed for our complex world.  The bottom line: your education will apply directly to life.  So, how do we prepare you for this academic experience? Through the First-year Liberal Arts Seminar or LAR 101 Inquiry Seminar:  Learning the Art of Inquiry.   Check out the video to hear from our professors, students, and staff to learn more about LAR 101!


Components of LAR 101:

  • Choose from over 15 different topics when you register for your section of LAR 101.  
  • Your LAR class serves as your orientation group when you arrive to campus in the fall
  • LAR 101 Instructor also serves as your advisor
  • Each section has an upperclassman peer assistant to give helpful tips and advice inside the classroom and out.
  • Common Book to be read by all first-year students during the first 3 weeks across all sections.
  • Hands-on instruction in a supportive environment to develop intellectual skills
  • Development of “soft skills” (self-awareness, empathy, resilience, etc.)
  • Separate Lab Sessions to help your transition to Doane


2016 Common Book

The Common Book for all LAR 101 Sections is the graphic novel Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.  Persepolis is Iranian-born Satrapi's coming-of-age memoir, told in the form of a comic-book, of growing up during the Iranian Revolution.  


Summer Reading Program

  1. Watch the 15-minute youTube video "What is comic art, and why should we study it?", created by LAR 101 professors Clanton, Jarvis and Meysenburg to provide critical background information prior to reading the book.
  2. Read the first 46 pages of Persepolis prior to arriving on campus in the fall
  3. Anwer the discuss questions attached here.  Be sure to look for an email from your professor this summer that will explain specific instructions on how they would like your responses.  


Background Video for Persepolis:  "What is comic art, and why should we study it?"




Fall 2016 LAR 101 courses offered






Explore various cultures, viewpoints, and regions of the globe, including Amazonian exploration, scientific discovery and electronic hacking!

Dr. Brandi Hilton-Hagemann  (History)



Read memoirs and novels that explore issues of identity and political oppression in Iran, China, Russia, Argentina, and South Africa

Dr. Kim Jarvis  (History)

Taking a Stance!

Critique and create persuasive arguments orally and in writing on controversial social issues such as immigration, same-sex marriage, and the death penalty.

Mr. J.L. Vertin  (Mathematics)

Journeys of Becoming

Examine the factors that shape the way you perceive yourself and the world around you including travel, education and leaving your home country for new opportunities.

Dr. Kristen Hetrick  (Modern Language)

The American Experience(s)

Analyze and discuss what it means to have an American experience and how it differs in regard to race, gender, class and other factors.

Dr. Joshua Pope  (Modern Language)

The Power of Stories

Consider the role of stories in our lives and why we tell them by analyzing various components of narrative.

Dr. Kathleen Hanggi  (English)

Ethics and the Human Body

Examine diverse ethical issues related to the human body including body modification (tattooing, piercing), pandemics, organ transplant lists, and artificial body parts.

Dr. Bradley Johnson  (English)

The Trials of Galileo

Participate in a “Reacting to the Past” role-playing game by delving into historical texts, making speeches and debating controversial issues while in character

Dr. Mark Meysenburg     (Information Science & Technology)

A Human Rights Journey: From Inquiry to Awareness

Enhance and apply your ability to engage in ethical reasoning to articulate an understanding of truth, ethics, and social consciousness as they relate to human right issues.

Dr. Alec Engebretson      (Information Science & Technology)

History of Film:  Silent Era to the 1940’s

Examine important technological, economic, aesthetic, and social milestones in both American and international cinema starting from the silent era to the 1940’s.

Mr. David Sutera  (Communications)


Examine three epic stories (Gilgamesh, The Odyssey, and Beowulf) in order to discover how ancient and medieval western cultures answered enduring questions on how humans view heroism.

Dr. Dan Clanton  (Religious Studies)

Becoming One with Environment

Explore different places around the world through travel memoirs, creative non-fiction travel writing and through a variety of international films and documentaries.

Dr. Nathan Erickson  (Sociology)


Science and Society

Explore what it means to pursue scientific discovery and the process through which findings are considered by citizens, evaluated for decision-making, and translated into policies.

Dr. Kate Marley  (Biology)

Shhh!  The Power of Silence

Identify uses of silence and seek to understand and appreciate how silence is as powerful as speech—if only we can listen for it.

Ms. Caitie Leibman (Writing Center)

Once Upon a Time…

Investigate diverse folklore that shape notions of time, space, and humanity across cultures, and will explore how the stores we tell influence communal and individual distinctiveness.

Dr. Courtney Bruntz (Religious Studies)


For a complete description of the courses, click here .

Interested in Doane? Let us know.



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